This morning I was meant to be doing a final sweep round the house in preparation for welcoming my brother to the UK for his first trip here in exactly 20 years (he can’t really remember the last trip – on the other hand I think that’s when I decided I was going to live here). I even made his favourite biscuits.
However, le mauvais temps in Northern France (what’s French for “the wrong kind of snow”?) has put paid to that plan and I find myself at a loose end. Bad things always come in threes – on Friday my credit card was cloned, on Saturday my brother’s train was cancelled – so now I’m just waiting around for an anvil to fall on my head. Although perhaps there’s already been three – we had a bit of bad luck looking for a new flatmate earlier in the week (yet another blow to NZ-Australian relations – but that’s another story).
At least I’m eating well in the meantime. I received some cherry tomatoes in my last veg box, which spurred me to try another recipe from the Ottolenghi book – Roast potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes with lemon and sage. All I needed to buy were some kalamata olives and Jerusalem artichokes and hey presto:
At the start of the Ottolenghi book, they joke that “if you don’t like lemon or garlic, skip to the end of this book”. This recipe has plenty of both, with four cloves of garlic. Since I’m still fighting off the tail end of my bronchitis or swine flu or whatever it was, I figured I could do with a good dose of garlic. The garlic, lemon, sage, potato, tomato and olive combination is one that would never have occurred to me, but it works really well. The artichokes disintegrated a little, I think next time I would cut them a bit thicker. But all in all it was a colourful, cheering sort of a meal. Comfort eating, only more interesting.
Incidentally, no one I know has reported a dud recipe from that book yet. I’ve made the cauliflower fritters about four times now and still love them. It’s possibly my favourite cookbook – barring the Usborne First Cookbook, which was indeed my first cookbook and contains the recipe for the biscuits mentioned above. More on those later. I still have some butter, sugar and flour in the house so I think I will fill the gaping, brother-shaped hole in my Sunday with more biscuits!
By the way, does anyone want two tickets to Avenue Q tomorrow? Sigh.